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West Berlin

Boroughs of West Berlin
Boroughs of West Berlin

West Berlin was the name given to the western part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990. It consisted of the American, British and French allied sectors that were installed in 1945. The Soviet sector became East Berlin, part of East Germany.

West Berlin was surrounded entirely by the Soviet sectors and so was an enclave. The western allies were guaranteed an air corridor, but not road or rail access, and so in response to a currency reform in the western sectors, the Soviets were able to cut off ground access to West Berlin, which had been granted on an informal basis before. The Berlin Airlift was successful at persuading the Soviets to back down.

On August 13, 1961 the East German government built the Berlin Wall, thus physically closing off West Berlin from East Germany. It was still possible to travel from West Berlin to West Germany only.

On June 26, 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy visited West Berlin and gave a public speech known for its famous phrase "Ich bin ein Berliner."

On November 9, 1989 the wall was opened.

Occupied Berlin
Occupied Berlin

Although West Berlin was de facto part of West Germany, it was not considered to be a Bundesland, nor part of one, and the Grundgesetz (Constitution) had no application there. Instead, it was administered by the West Berlin Senate at Rathaus Schöneberg, given its authority by the occupying forces. Although West Berliners were citizens of the Federal Republic, they were not elegible to vote in federal elections. Instead, they were indirectly represented in the Bundestag by 20 non-voting delegates chosen by the West Berlin House of Representatives. Similarly, the West Berlin Senate sent non-voting delegates to the Bundesrat.

Other anomalies included the exemption of West Berlin men from military service, a ban on Lufthansa flights to the city, and a West Berlin postal administration, separate from West Germany's, which issued its own postage stamps until 1990. The exemption from military service made it a popular place for German youths.

West Berlin comprised the following boroughs -

In the American Sector

In the British Sector

In the French Sector

On October 3, 1990 West Germany and East Germany were united, thus formally ending the existence of West Berlin.

See also

Last updated: 02-07-2005 15:22:16
Last updated: 02-22-2005 16:12:51